May 06, 2014

Rustic French Onion Focaccia #TwelveLoaves

The theme for Twelve Loaves this month is onions, which gave me the perfect opportunity to try my hand at focaccia.  I have loved this bread ever since I started my first job in an Italian neighborhood after graduating.  My treat for lunch every few weeks was this amazing bread that was sliced in half, stuffed with wonderful cheeses and meats, and then placed in a panini grill.  One bite and I was in heaven.
My adventure in bread continues and I am happy to say that I am feeling more confident now.  I am starting to get a feel for when a dough has the right consistency and had been kneaded the right amount of time.  It is still a work in progress, but I am learning more and more each month from the wonderful bakers in the Twelve Loaves group.  There really is something to be said for the amount of pride you feel when you have accomplished a beautiful loaf of bread whether it is a yeasted loaf, roll, cracker, muffin, braid, or flatbread.

This bread recipe comes from the Model Bakery cookbook.  I have had this book for a few months but this is the first time I have actually had a chance to bake from it.  It really is a beautiful book full of great recipes and I can't wait to try another one - maybe for next months theme.  This recipe was very easy to follow and the end result was amazing - just the right amount of chew to the bread, and the addition of onion that had been cooked along the lines of a French Onion soup was just the right touch.  The next day we had what little that was left over dipped in balsamic vinegar.

If you would like to know more about #TwelveLoaves and see what the others made for the Onion theme please scroll down below the recipe.

Rustic French Onion Focaccia
(Printer Friendly Recipe)
Focaccia ~
  • 5½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
  • 2⅓ cups plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon instant (also called quick-rising or bread machine) yeast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl and brushing
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt for sprinkling
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tawny port or red wine
  • 1 tablespoon beef or vegetable stock.
  1. Combine 4 cups of flour with the water, yeast, and sea salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed just until the dough is cohesive.
  2. Stop the mixer and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let stand for 10 minutes. (To make by hand, combine the water, yeast, and sea salt in a large bowl. Mix in enough of the flour to make a cohesive, tacky dough. Cover with a kitchen towel.)
  3. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Mix on medium-low speed, adding more flour as necessary to make a soft dough that doesn’t stick to the bowl. Mix until the dough is soft, smooth, and slightly tacky, about 6 minutes. 
  4. Add the rosemary and parsley and mix just until it is incorporated into the dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface. (To make by hand, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding more flour as necessary, to make a smooth and elastic dough, but slightly tacky, dough, about 10 minutes. Flatten the dough into a rectangle and sprinkle with the rosemary and parsley. Roll up the dough and knead briefly to distribute the herbs.)
  5. Lightly oil a medium bowl. Shape the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl, smooth-side down, and turn to coat with oil, leaving the dough smooth-side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
  6. While the dough is rising make the onion topping;  Melt butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat.  Reduce the heat and add the onions, sugar, and thyme cooking until the onions turn a deep, golden brown. Add salt, pepper, port, and stock and cook until liquid has reduced.  Set aside.
  7. Lightly oil a 13-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet and stretch and pat the dough to fill the pan (if the dough is too elastic from the activated gluten and retracts, cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let stand for about 10 minutes to relax the gluten). Be sure the dough fills the corners of the pan.
  8. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand until the dough rises to the top of the pan, about 45 minutes.
  9. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.
  10. Dimple the top of the dough with your fingertips, and brush it with olive oil and spread the onion mixture across the top. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste.
  11. Bake until the focaccia is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  12. Let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes, then cut into large rectangles and serve.
Focaccia recipe from the Model Bakery cookbook, French Onion topping by ATLATC

#TwelveLoaves May: Onions

The month of April was filled with gorgeous orange breads! We have chosen onions for our May theme! Choose a recipe including onions (red, white, yellow), scallions (green onions, spring onions); leeks, shallots, garlic, pearl onion, cipollini, chives. Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun and let’s have a delicious month of bread with onions. Let’s get baking! If you are looking for inspiration check out all of the amazing recipes below ~

If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!
  1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme! 
  2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme. 
  3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this May, 2014, and posted on your blog by May 31, 2014. #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of our friend Renee from Magnolia Days.


  1. Oh my Felice, what beautiful focaccia you have there. I can see dipping it into a bowl of French onion soup too. (You can't have too many onions you know).

  2. I love the combination of rosemary and onions! Your focaccia looks amazing!!!

  3. I had to look twice, Felice, because your wonderful onions almost looked like twirls of crispy bacon, they are so lovely and golden. Cut me a square, won't you, please? I need a piece of your perfectly chewy, golden onion-topped focaccia!

  4. I have some fresh rosemary growing in a container pot on the deck and it would be perfect in your focaccia. Wish I had some of your right now!

  5. I bet it tasted great, I love onions used like this.

  6. I have never heard of this cookbook (now I'm tempted to get a copy!). Love your rustic French onion focaccia, Felice. I bake focaccia almost every week and even the kids love caramlized onions on's such a great topping and perfect for our Onion May challenge:)

  7. So beautiful! We both had the same idea of making focaccia! Your photo are stunning!
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

  8. Felice your focaccia is a stunner.
    Really like it!
    Onion focaccia is one of my favourite, ever tried with thinly shredded potatoes?
    They turn so crunchy *_*
    I wish you a lovely day

  9. I am so glad you are enjoying bread baking and gaining confidence!!! Your onions look so yummy!


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